Twenty nine years ago, the former chief executive of Preston North End was preparing to cut his teeth as a junior reporter on the now defunct Blackburn Times.

These days, however, he's a best-selling author in his own right after ghost-writing 'Tom Finney -- my autobiography' which is currently ranked seventh in the prestigious Sunday Times booklist.

When Finney was first approached by Headline books to write an autobiography, Agnew was the obvious choice as the man to help him tell his remarkable story.

Fourteen years ago, the pair had collaborated to produce 'Finney -- a football legend' so if anyone knew about Finney's status as a genuine working class hero then it was Agnew, who also doubles up as the press officer for Blackburn Rovers.

As far as legends go, Finney is up there with anyone you would care to mention.

Described by many observers as simply the best footballer Britain has ever produced, he was twice crowned Footballer of the Year, in 1954 and 1957.

He played 433 times for his home town club, and only club Preston North End, scoring 187 goals, and was capped a total of 76 times for England, scoring an impressive 30 times.

He was awarded an OBE in 1961 and in 1998 he was finally given a knighthood.

But what was it that made Sir Tom so special?

He had talent in abundance, of course, which he expressed through his dribbling, crossing and general ball control -- all tools of the winger's trade.

But what really set him apart was his all-round game.

Brave, strong, and good in the air, Finney could play in a variety of different positions and the fact he's a modest, charming man, who fought in the Second World War and stayed loyal to one club throughout his career merely adds to his special appeal.

One of his greatest fans was Bill Shankly, the legendary Liverpool manager, who rated him as the best player he had ever seen.

Shankly was once approached by a journalist following a Liverpool home win in the 70s at a time when a certain Kevin Keegan was beginning to make a name for himself at Anfield.

"Just how good is this lad, Keegan?" asked the reporter.

"Oh, I'd go as far as to say he's as good as Finney," replied Shankly.

"Crikey!" said the reporter. "That's praise indeed."

"Yes," said Bill, "although Tom is 52!"

Imagine the buzz, then, to be asked to help pen his autobiography.

"It's been a pleasure and a privilege to be quite honest," said Agnew, who now runs a successful PR firm in Blackburn.

"I went to bed on stories of Tom Finney as a boy because my dad was a huge Finney fan.

"I first got to know him through working for the evening paper in Preston where I did a column with him and my dad was flabbergasted when he found out.

"But that's how people are with him generally because he has this aura about him which is very humbling.

"I don't think there's anyone in the game who has been less affected by fame than him.

"When we've been doing signing sessions for the book he's been as interested in the people as they have in him, and that's why he appeals to so many."

The book itself will never be serialised in a tabloid paper like 'The Sun' because Finney is not the type of person who deals in scandal and sensationalism.

Instead, it's a fascinating insight into the life of possibly Britain's greatest ever sportsman.

Older fans will marvel at the stories of Matthews and Mortenson, and the famous Preston team which became known as 'The Invincibles.'

But it's not just a trawl through history -- far from it, in fact.

One chapter in particular makes reference to how the game has changed financially, even comparing Finney's earnings to what David Beckham gets paid now.

"We worked it out that some Premiership footballers earn more in half a week without playing a game than Tom Finney did in his entire career, which lasted 14 years and included over 500 games for Preston and 70 caps for England," said Agnew.

"He made less than £15,000 in total out of football."

Amazing -- just like the man himself.

'Tom Finney -- my autobiography', published by Hodder Headline, is available in all good book shops now priced £18.99.